CLASSIFIED - Washington Public Employees Association


CLASSIFIED - Washington Public Employees Association
newsletter for wpea’s members at nw washington colleges
Contacting your union rep
Welcome new WPEA Staff Rep Patrick Neville
When you are reaching out to a staff rep,
steward, or fellow employee regarding a
workplace violation or union issue, make sure
to use your personal email or phone number
to make the contact. Not only does our
contract prohibit the use of state resources for
union business, it is also in your best interest
to keep these sensitive matters from becoming
public record.
Patrick joined WPEA as NW Staff Representative
at the beginning of March. He has recent
experience as a policy analyst in the Washington
State House of Representatives. Previously, he
was staff to the Martin Luther King County Labor
Council, AFL-CIO.
Bellevue College stewards
Becky Turnbull, chief shop steward
Terri Halsey
Evelyn Kasama
Mary Anne Meng
Jan Ng
Jeanna Shockley
Cascadia College stewards
Marion Heard, chief shop steward
Vickie Yamasaki Ashe
Kristen Buck
Darla Hart
Sherrl Kite
Alex Swidergal
Edmonds Community College stewards
Patti Pollardo, chief shop steward
Kelly Clark
Rose Valdez-Oittinen
Highline College stewards
Thomas Bui
Susie Chavez
Gerald Jackson
Annie Julian
Carolyn Sinay
Skagit Valley College stewards
Julie Bishop – Mount Vernon Campus
Joe Buenaventura – Whidbey Island Campus
Sue Jensen – Whidbey Island Campus
Brandy Lanning – Mount Vernon Campus
Lance Levesen – Mount Vernon Campus
Patrick received his academic degrees from
the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at
Cornell University, concentrating on Collective
WPEA staff representatives
Patrick Neville — Cascadia College, Edmonds
Community College, Skagit Valley College
Steven Sloniker — Highline College
Anna Vosk (pictured right, with son, Ben)
returns from maternity leave in December and
will represent Bellevue College.
Outreach project underway
Recently, you may have spotted WPEA
organizers Chad, Kathleen, and Jason
on your campus. They have started
a new member outreach project and
have been holding educational meetings,
talking to members, and identifying ways
to strengthen the union at each college.
Chad Acosta-Elbandagji joined WPEA
in October. After serving in the US
Army during 9/11, Chad helped military
veterans in his community return home
and build a life. Working alongside
community partners, Chad had the
opportunity to branch into union
Kathleen and Chad
Kathleen Oest returned to WPEA in March to cover Anna’s maternity
and is currently working as both a staff representative and as an
organizer. Kathleen brings her experience organizing at unions from
Nevada to Washington (including WPEA).
If you see them on campus, be sure to introduce yourself and have a
quick conversation with them to find out more. You can also reach
them at [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected].
Our labor community
In anticipation of a potential state
government shutdown and mass stateemployee layoffs, WPEA joined with
other state employee unions and
supporters in a series of Unity Breaks
around the state on June 18. State
employees gathered wearing their
union gear to show the public and their
elected lawmakers that “Public Service
Matters” and that our public servants
are much more than mere pawns in an
Olympia chess match over your right to
bargain collectively. In the end, the state
budget was passed, your contracts were
funded, and we were able to fight off bad
policy bills designed to take away public
employee rights. (Members at Skagit
Valley College – Whidbey Campus in
Oak Harbor pictured above-left.)
WPEA delegates (pictured above-right)
attended the annual Convention of the
Washington State Labor Council, AFLCIO in July. WSLC, as the democratic
voice of the Labor Community in
Washington, is a way for many different
unions representing all sorts of industries
to work together on “big picture”
issues affecting all workers across the
state. In addition to activities such as
strengthening your rights through the
Legislature, WSLC fosters the lines of
communication between workers and
their unions across private- and publicsector professions. There are many
ways to become involved with WSLC.
Find out how by subscribing to WSLC’s
online labor newspaper, The Stand, at
WPEA’s Jason Holland has volunteered
countless hours to support farm
workers who pick berries in the
Skagit Valley (below). These workers
are subjected to impossible quotas
and unsafe working conditions. All
they want is the ability to negotiate
with their employer, Sakuma Brothers
(Driscoll’s Berries), over the terms
and conditions of their employment
as farm workers. This is important
work, not the least of which is the
Olympia Headquarters | 140 Percival Street NW | Olympia, WA 98502
P 360-943-1121 | TF 800-544-WPEA | F 360-357-7627 |
fact that these workers are an integral
part of our more rural communities
– where many WPEA members work
and live. But also, corporate farms
have been continually trying to drive
down standards for the folks who bring
the food to our table. Driving down
standards for one group of workers
only gives all employers, including the
State of Washington, more reason to
try to push down wages and working
conditions for everyone else. WPEA
members have been going out on the
weekends to support the farm workers’
actions. Recently, we marched on the
Skagit County Historical Museum. Farm
workers were repeatedly denied a space
to tell the history of Skagit Valley farm
labor during the museum’s presentation
on the history of agriculture in Skagit
Valley. Instead, they invited the workers’
employer to speak at the event to give
a one-sided history of making money off
the backs of farm workers.
Know your rights
As a WPEA member, you have
representation rights that go above
and beyond disciplinary meetings
(a.k.a. Weingarten Rights). Our WPEA
contract states that you have a right to
union representation “at all levels on
any matter adversely affecting (your)
conditions of employment.” If you are
called into any meeting by management
that you feel might turn out bad for you,
you may immediately contact your shop
steward or WPEA Staff Representative
to assist you during the meeting.
If you are a party to an investigation,
confidentiality is paramount. Not only is
confidentiality central to every college’s
policy on investigations, it is there to
protect your privacy and you from
any form of retaliation or peripheral
disciplinary actions. If you feel under
pressure to talk about an investigation
with anyone other than the investigator,
please contact your Staff Representative.
If an investigation results in discipline,
remember that is confidential as well.
Open, unfilled positions
Staffing is a constant challenge. If
a WPEA-represented position is
remaining unfilled over a period of time,
please contact your Staff Representative.
While WPEA cannot “force” the college
to hire for vacancies or create new
positions, we can help you work through
the impacts of such vacancies, such as
increased workload or responsibilities.
We have been able to help members
modify their set of expectations and
sometimes their job classification
because of workload issues.
WPEA representation. The makeup
of this committee is: 1 WPEA member,
1 CCCFT (faculty union) member, 4
other employees, the Assistant Director
of Facilities, and chaired by the VP of
Administrative Services. This task force
has been meeting since July 2015. The
committee’s recommendations are due
in July 2016. Even though Cascadia
College still must bargain any significant
workspace changes that come out
of the recommendations, at least we
have union representation that will
try to steer the committee away from
making changes that will result in timeconsuming bargaining sessions. This
could prove to be a useful model for
other colleges.
Space crunches
Many colleges have been experiencing
workspace challenges. If your college
is changing your work environment to
such a degree that it impacts your ability
to do your job right, the college must
bargain the impacts of the workspace
changes with WPEA. Cascadia College
has created a novel approach to their
space crunch by creating a “Space
Task Force Committee” that includes
Community College Boards of Trustees
Labor representatives are required
on Boards of Trustees at the Technical
Colleges, but not the Community
Colleges (we are working on that in the
Legislature). So, we are always working
on recruiting folks who understand the
issues of working families to serve on
Boards of Trustees at the Community
This is an extremely
important role, as the Trustees have
broad powers over college operations,
not the least of which includes selecting
college presidents and setting their
salaries. Trustees are appointed by the
Governor. If you know good candidates,
please contact your Staff Representative
and we may be able to help through
the appointment process. Two WPEArepresented colleges have board
vacancies: Bellevue (3) and Edmonds (2).
Olympia Headquarters | 140 Percival Street NW | Olympia, WA 98502
P 360-943-1121 | TF 800-544-WPEA | F 360-357-7627 |
Pavy Thao
Gabi Esparza
WPEA annual scholarship winners
WPEA awards annual scholarships to
members and their family members
who are pursuing additional education
(scholarships are not funded by member
dues). This year, WPEA awarded more
than $10,000 in scholarships to a dozen
WPEA members or family members.
The following are the recipients from
WPEA-represented community colleges
in northwest Washington.
Pavy Thao works at Bellevue College
as a program specialist. She is a graduate
of University of Washington – Bothell
and is seeking a Master’s of Education.
Peyton Mizell is a program specialist
at Bellevue College and is pursuing a
Master’s of Education at University of
Gabi Esparza is the daughter of
Diane Palmer-Esparza, who is an
early childhood program specialist at
Bellevue College. Gabrielle is majoring
in environmental science. She is very
passionate about our environment.
This year, she was vice president of
Sustainable Community – a week-long
project for first-year students to learn
how to be environmentally friendly.
Early learning corner
WPEA represents three early learning facilities: Snohomish Head
Start, Skagit/Island Head Start, and the Early Learning Center at
Bellevue College. There have been many challenges recently within
these groups, but also challenges that are common to all. A lot of issues
boil down to overall staffing challenges. Budgets for these facilities
are being crunched, particularly for the programs that receive federal
funding. This results in workplace effects such as position redesign
and pressure to not take vacations or even restroom breaks. WPEA
has been working to address these consequences that are absolutely
no fault of the members. The best way to do this is to have regular
communication amongst our early learning members. We have been
doing more to have “early learning-specific” meetings at times and
paces convenient to members. Another idea is to organize meetings
that include members from all three early learning programs to
share experiences and ideas for improvement that we can all work
on together. If you have ideas about organizing such an event, please
contact Patrick Neville at WPEA. And remember – we can always
use shop stewards in our early learning programs!
Olympia Headquarters | 140 Percival Street NW | Olympia, WA 98502
P 360-943-1121 | TF 800-544-WPEA | F 360-357-7627 |